Friday, 31-Dec-04 16:55
EOY

It's the magical season known as "End Of Year", during which people like to look back and think what they have done, and what they should be ashamed of.

In a sense, I'm in the same situation I was in when I started this blog exactly two years ago: my nose is running, and JSPWiki is still a mess. But the weather (and neither is the snot) is no longer freezing, and in fact, it is unseasonably warm.

I'm writing this on the train, somewhere between Helsinki and Oulu. I'm again traveling to my love. This has truly been a traveling year: I've been to Japan, USA, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, and Canada - even ventured to the Arctic Circle to see a day which does not know sunlight. Yet I haven't managed to get a single Gold card on any airline - mostly due to bad timing, route choices and bad luck. Oh well.

If I had to pick a singular episode which meant something to me, it has to be the Finnish Blog Awards. Not only did I get to meet a bunch of really wonderful people, some of whom I'm proud to call friends now, it inevitably led me to a particular blogger in Oulu. The event did transform my life, though I had no idea on that particular Saturday morning, as I left a comment on Fabula.

I also realized that I've written a lot, more than ever before:

% wc *blogentry*.txt
   9086  129462  836643 total

129000 words - that is something like two novels in two years. Of course, most of it is crap, but I hope at least something has given someone a bit of amusement or new thoughts. Or resurrected old thoughts, that you believed to be gone forever.

I would've never written all these words, if blogging didn't make writing so easy. If I had tried to write a novel, I would've just written a bit of a beginning, and then forgotten about it (you have no idea how many of these I have). But to write small things in public is far easier than devoting two years to write something massive that you just then slam out and hope it survives.

Writing has been compared to pregnancy and childbirth. If so, then blogging is the Frankenstein method of giving birth: just one limb/organ at a time. It's painless because all the bits are so small, but you end up with a monster that has a few extra limbs where they shouldn't be. But it still lives.

With this thought, I wish to thank all of my readers, other bloggers, and wish you all a Very Good New Year 2005. (And don't injure yourself with fireworks. There has been enough grief already for one EOY.)

Friday, 31-Dec-04 02:28
Debugging conversations

Wrote a lengthy piece, so I dropped it on a separate page:

Debugging conversations

There's one particular method of conversation that can be annoying as hell, if you do not understand it. I call it "debugging", as I seem to most hit it in the technology-savvy crowd. It also seems to be the weapon of choice in many net conversations, especially in the USENET.

The typical debugger views a stated argument as a true/false statement - either it's completely true, or completely false. It is only true if all of the sentences in that statement are verifiably true, and therefore it is okay to attack the weakest link of the sentence, because if that can be proven false - or even uncertain - the entire argument collapses like a flan in a cupboard.

It's just like software: a single flaw in an otherwise perfect algorithm will render it useless - or even dangerous. That is why it is important to find the flaw, and not concentrate on the bits that already work. This is the strange dualism of computer programming - in order to make the whole fun ...

More...

Tuesday, 28-Dec-04 20:23
Shit

Not the previous kind of shit.

I have a dear friend in Chalong Bay in Phuket, working as a diving instructor. So far I haven't heard anything - but I guess that's to be expected, as that area was hit pretty bad.

This... this disaster just transcends all imagination. I have no words.

I just hope she's all right.

Please donate as much as you can to help.

Update: she seems to be fine (thanks, Orava and others). As complete as possible list of the Finnish survivors is on Mininet. It's weird: it's actually illegal to publish this kind of a list in Finland, as it goes against the privacy laws. Thus, neither the Foreign Ministry nor the travel agencies may publish (and they have not published) the names of those who survived without the permission of the people or their relatives, and thus they are overwhelmed by people who call to query for each individual person - many calling in multiple times.

Private persons are forbidden from listing the survivors as well, but in a situation such as this the free flow of information is more important than the privacy issues. It's better to break the law for a good cause and face the consequences (of which I doubt there will be any - the public outcry would be horrific) than to let people linger in despair. A catastrophy this big touches a lot of people, and broadcasting is simply the best way to transmit this information to people.

Update2: The Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman, Reijo Aarnio is saying that he will not contact and try to stop private people who have been publishing the names of the survivors, even if that gets him fired for not doing his duties. Good man.

Sunday, 26-Dec-04 17:53
A picture-perfect Christmas

Picture yesterday evening: It's dark, all the noisy kids have gone to bed. We are lying on the bed, close to each other, and share the iPod. We play disgustingly romantic music, kiss, and just sense the warmth of each other in the quiet house.

Then she suddenly perks up: "Darling! I forgot to tell you! My poo was this long and completely solid!" she says, and shows with her fingers.

How I love that woman...

(As a side note, today I completely understand her happiness: I have the same stomach flu now (except a bit worse), and I have trouble going to the toilet because I don't know which end is going to discharge first - and which way I should sit on the john. Yay. I long for the days of solid poo.)

Saturday, 25-Dec-04 21:54
Global Voices Manifesto

Like Joi, I also feel pretty strongly about the freedom to say what you want. So I contributed a quick-and-rough Finnish translation to the Global Voices Wiki.

(In other news: it feels pretty strange (and one would think that I'm used to darkness) that the sun does not come up at all during the day. Oh well. Luckily I have a beautiful, caring, wonderful and diarrhetic lady here to keep me company. And a bunch of kids. :)

Friday, 24-Dec-04 18:14
Santa!

He's here to the joy of a six year old - and the great lie continues ;)

Friday, 24-Dec-04 09:43
Almost there

Only a few more minutes to go. Kent is playing on the iPod, and I feel strangely sad. I've so far spent every Christmas (bar one) with my parents. But I feel joy too, for we will spend the holidays together.

Thursday, 23-Dec-04 21:20
Early presents

Caved under pressure and got myself some Christmas presents :)

(I know, Apple is supposed to introduce a new iPod pretty soon, but I figured that since this thing already does nearly all I want it to do, I can just get it...)

Now I'm listening to music on express train, at the beginning of my 14-hour trip to Pello, way north of the Arctic Circle. It's odd realize that it's faster to get to Japan or SFO than to Outi's parents... If we ever get kids, we can't rely on gran to do babysitting ;)

But this world is still oddly screwed, as some distances shrink faster than others: city-to-foreign city can be faster than to city-to-countryside. No wonder people are losing touch with nature...

Anyway, happy holidays and whatnot to all my readers. Relax and be groovy.

Wednesday, 22-Dec-04 13:00
Advertisement

Sorry, I'm too busy and tired to blog, but I was asked to advertise the following, so I'll happily oblige:

Helsingin Eläinsuojeluyhdistys (HESY, Helsinki Humane Society) is having their 130-year anniversary (fi, english is here) exhibition in Jugendsali, Pohjoisesplanadi 19. The theme of the exhibition is "Animals and my life", and there is related program every day. The exhibition is open mo-fr 09-17, su 11-17, and is open until 9th of January. The funding of the society comes 97% from the public.

Good cause, with a friend's fine photographs. Go, if you have the time. Help, if you have the means.

Friday, 17-Dec-04 11:01
Shady Temptations

CutBoy nails it with his description to our trip to this particularly special place in Tokyo...

Thursday, 16-Dec-04 22:32
Back home

Thirteen hours of flight with one stopover, and I'm home. Though not home, but in a Christmas party. And there's a SingStar here... *shudder* But I'll be my usual grumpy self and just say I can't sing.

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 12:15
Overboard with Christmas lighting

Tree optional!

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 06:27
Still in heaven

Cheese tonkatsu! How... odd, yet incredibly tasty.

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 02:11
Mmmm...

I had no idea you could orgasm while eating. This eel is simply so good, that it literally melts on your tongue and causes shivers down your spine. The fish is incredibly fresh and rich in taste, and it's even relatively cheap.

It's the Tokyo Fish Market, the largest fish market in the world, and it has to be seen and felt to be believed. Calling it "busy" would be a gross understatement.

Wednesday, 15-Dec-04 00:05
Enough!

Now exactly how much is "enough" Christmas decoration?

Green optional.

Tuesday, 14-Dec-04 15:45
Ooomph

"This, my friend, is called an Ultimate Landslide."

Perhaps I should start asking what something is before ordering.

Tuesday, 14-Dec-04 15:36
Taiko drumming game!

Waa! Why is my PS2 region-coded?! I want this game, seriously! I wanna bang till I keel over from exhaustion. And I wanna invite friends over so we can gang... Nevermind.

Oh, and foie gras sushi is really quite exquisite.

...he said, and ran away from the approaching angry mob.

Tuesday, 14-Dec-04 08:56
One way to manage your email overload...

...is to simply make it someone else's problem. Here's the Out Of Office -message from a colleague:

Thank-you for your recent email.

Your message has been deleted from ~CutBoy's inbox, and all trace of it removed from our server. He has no way of knowing the message even existed.

So, if you still think that he will find the contents of your mail important you are welcome to re-mail at a future date at your convienience.

Sincerely,

Mail assistant to CB

I love it - resending the email when you even don't know when the person is back causes a significant cognitive load to the person sending it. Therefore, only the really important messages will be resent, and thus, the problem of filtering out the good email from the bad is distributed to the senders. Whee, practical applications of distributed computing using human brains :-)

Sunday, 12-Dec-04 14:50
Way!

Tim-Tams! My second favourite Australian candy!

(#1 being the ANZAC bisquits, of course :-)

Saturday, 11-Dec-04 17:04
Off to Tokyo

Moblogging from the plane with 3G!

(Though, they haven't told me to turn off the phone yet ;) Still safely on the ground...)

Friday, 10-Dec-04 23:03
Blog ethics

Check out the Blog ethics questionnaire. A ~PhD student is asking for opinions on a couple of interesting questions, and is asking for feedback from active bloggers. (Via somewhere I already forgot...)

(I'm sure someone who is fluent in the language of philosophy can translate this into Finnish - I couldn't.)

Update: Sedis translated it into Finnish and there's already some discussion there - brilliant!

Friday, 10-Dec-04 14:25
Quickies

Three meetings and a presentation. Eurgh. Just a few quickies again (because I don't have the time to give these the full treatment):

3G is cool. Seriously. It's almost like broadband in your pocket. Using a 6630 in the Elisa 3G network makes my geek heart tremble with warm fuzzies: I can now read blogs anywhere :-). Now if only it was a bit cheaper, I could actually see this transforming the way cell phones are being used.

Look at the new Google Suggest! That is simply *impressive*. Write a start of a word, and Google suggests immediately a search word (with the number of matches) - without you pressing the search button. (Via Myrsky.net.) What do you mean web applications can only have bad interfaces?

A spurious radical thought: Part of the reason many have a work email overload problem is that emails are like prayers, just a lot more reliable. You type in a wish, and you put it in this black box, and out comes (perhaps) a reply. You don't really think that there's a person out there that has to use his precious time to answer to your email - your interface is with Outlook, not with A Person. Both prayers and emails assume that there's a being with an infinite processing capability at the other end.

Outlook (and other email programs) are really good at depersonalizing your communication - they speak of Contacts and Tasks, not of Friends and Fun - which is what IM and blogs are much better at. And, as with religion, most of the time you get spam instead of anything useful. ;-)

Wednesday, 08-Dec-04 00:33
Power law rulez

Not at all unsurprisingly, the Finnish blog world also adheres to Shirky's Power Law. Most blogs have less than ten readers, as measured by the Pinseri aggregator.

The image to the right was made by Peter of Nätkreatur and included here without permission (because he does not have any contact information on his blog; let me know if it's okay to keep it here). I found it from the Pinseri discussion on the new bloglist.

Everyone interested in the recent discussion of "blogging inner circles" and "the undemocratic nature of blogs" should read Shirky's article. The fact that some people get naturally selected as the "top" bloggers comes from the freedom to choose whom to read.

To quote Shirky: Inequality occurs in large and unconstrained social systems for the same reasons stop-and-go traffic occurs on busy roads, not because it is anyone's goal, but because it is a reliable property that emerges from the normal functioning of the system. The relatively egalitarian distribution of readers in the early years had nothing to do with the nature of weblogs or webloggers. There just weren't enough blogs to have really unequal distributions. Now there are.

Wednesday, 08-Dec-04 00:08
Total Music Honesty

This meme from Erik:

The Playlist Meme

  1. Open up the music player on your computer.
  2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
  3. Hit the "shuffle" command.
  4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. That's right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It's time for total musical honesty. Write it up in your blog or journal and link back to at least a couple of the other sites where you saw this.
  5. If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurances. You don't have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you can if you'd like.

Here's my list:

  • CMX: Ruoste
  • Irwin Goodman: Haistakaa paska koko valtiovalta
  • U2: The Star Spangled Banner
  • Schiller: Glück und Erfüllung
  • Maria Kalaniemi & Algardaz: Huuma (Los Mareados)
  • Edu Kettunen: Polkan transsi
  • Fairground Attraction: Perfect
  • Frankie Valli: Grease
  • Nylon Beat: Love and Hate
  • Leevi and the Leavings: Vasara ja nauloja
Monday, 06-Dec-04 20:01
Linking, linking, linking

I'm too tired to really write about anything. There are too many things I should do and too little time. So I'll just throw a couple of links I wanted to write longer stories about for you to digest.

Urgh. I'm exhausted. Not even three days of rest can remove this weariness anymore...

Thursday, 02-Dec-04 23:46
After a long day

This one was in the fridge
At home, I found seven of these small stickers hidden around the apartment.

Tears of happiness wrenched my heart.

(English readers: paint with your mouse cursor below to see the translated text. If you are using a RSS browser, well, good for you :)

*kiss*
I miss you
my love
Wednesday, 01-Dec-04 17:46
Word of the year

From Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Based on your online lookups, the #1 Word of the Year for 2004 was

Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer...

(Via Joi. I'm with him - stop complaining how stupid the word sounds already :)


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